How To Fail Successfully

Failure and Success

The only true failure is the failure to try.

So, this thought popped in my head the other morning. I’m trying to decide if I agree with it or not. I wonder where it came from. Did I hear someone say it? Did I read it somewhere? I can’t for the life of me remember. If it was you, chime in and take credit. If you read or heard it too, please remind me of the origin.

What do you think? Is it accurate to say the only way to fail for sure is to not try at all? To successfully fail, just don’t try?

Does it mean even when things don’t go according to plan that we still enjoy some level of success just because we made an attempt?

I’ve been trying to figure out what God says about the subject. From what I can tell God’s word talks more about what we “should do” than it does about what we “shouldn’t do”. We are told to: love, serve, tell, baptize, teach, encourage, build up, pray for, feed, clothe, and care for others (just to name a few). If we don’t at least try to do these things then we fail to be God’s hands and feet. We fail to bring His kingdom to earth. We fail to obey His greatest command.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to find my name on God’s Fail List. Which brings us to another issue. I don’t believe we can just go off willy-nilly and dive into meaningless, busy activity and slap God’s name on it in the disclaimer line. I’m reminded of a verse I read in the book of Acts last week.   

“…For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5: 38-39)

Anything I try to do in my own strength will be for nothing. But when God is in it, even if the outcome is not what I expect, then failure is not necessarily the result. God’s purpose isn’t always able to be  measured by human standards but sometimes it’s more about the journey. It’s about what happens in our hearts. It’s what brings us closer to Him.

So the little poem we all learned as kids, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” may be pretty accurate. Just be sure you’re using God’s definition of success and not the world’s.

Just keep trying, just keep trying… (chanted to the tune of Dory’s “Just keep swimming…” ) You’re welcome…


5 responses to “How To Fail Successfully

  1. I think that “to succeed” is to simply do what God directs you to do. (And I think you were alluding to that.) To fail is not to do what God directs you to do. The circumstances, results, or how you feel about it are really rather irrelevant. Success is bringing a smile to Abba’s face by becoming “one” with Him just as Jesus is “One” with Him. And we do that by doing what He tells us to do.

    • I agree. But I think a lot of people (Christians) forget that we can’t measure success by world standards when dealing with God instructions. We tend to get wrapped up in our feelings and forget that even rejection doesn’t equal failure. It’s not our job to make sure that the plan works out, the outcome is God’s. We are just His instruments.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  2. And with the fuel of His passion for our good, a motive of love, and not because we HAVE TO, failing is impossible.

    If our child gives us a card, we don’t declare it a failure if it isn’t halmark quality. We embrace it because the motive was pure.

  3. “Die to the dream of being a success and live to be a blessing….” (Author Unknown) When this happens, God gets the glory and success is a given. Perhaps not in the worlds eyes, but in the eyes of eternity. Good word, my friend. Thank you for always sharpening me and challenging me to reach outside my comfort zone.

  4. If I fail hugely but what I have done reaches one soul for Christ, I haven’t failed. But I don’t know that. Maybe we need to do as Paul said . . .”I don’t even judge myself.” If we continue to have the wherewithal to move forward, maybe it’s never a failure (unless of course it’s immoral). God will simply stop us.

    Thank you for the good post.

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